The official UN death-toll for the 2014 war shows that 1,549 Palestinian civilians were killed in comparison to four Israelis, and 504 Palestinian children were killed for one Israeli child. PNN reports that, in the Gaza Strip, the seven weeks of hostilities between Palestinian armed groups and the Israeli military, during July and August 2014, resulted in an unprecedented level of loss and human suffering, which aggravated the already fragile situation that preceded the conflict.
A total of 1,549 Palestinian civilians, a third of them children, were killed and around 11,000 people were injured; 13 per cent of the housing stock was damaged or destroyed, including some 20,000 homes totally destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, leaving over 100,000 people displaced; unexploded ordnance spread over Gaza pose a serious threat to the life of Palestinians and humanitarian workers; and access to already insufficient basic services has been further undermined. Four Israeli civilians were killed during the hostilities and hundreds injured.
Gaza remains in crisis, with most of the 100,000 made homeless by last year’s war still homeless. The United Nations has had to suspend assistance to families made homeless by the war because of a $600 million shortfall in promised donations.
The ban on exports has no plausible justification on grounds of Israel’s security. It leaves factories idle and most Gazans dependent on food aid.
The ban on import of construction materials causes huge hardship (most of the 100,000 made homeless by the war are still homeless).
The restrictions on humanitarian aid (running at half the pre-blockade levels) is another form of collective punishment.
It’s true that some building materials can be used for military purposes, but this is a vicious circle. The more the Israelis attack Gaza, the more that Palestinians in Gaza want to be defended. The result can be that it strengthens rather than weakens support for Hamas.
In any case what is the alternative? The West Bank has been demilitarised for more than 10 years with the Palestine Authority police enforcing a strict ban on arms of all kinds, but what has been their reward? This has just eased the way to the Israelis stealing more land to build settlements, ransacking and demolishing homes, turning a blind eye to settler violence, putting peaceful demonstrators in jail and killing hundreds of Palestinians. The Gazans see what has happened in the West Bank and do not want to be defenceless.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation renounced violence nearly 30 years ago but their strategy of non-violence only makes sense if it is backed by international action to put pressure on Israel to end settlement-building and land theft and allow an independent Palestinian state within viable and secure borders. It is our failure to deliver our part of the bargain that is the trouble.
Israeli naval forces shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman who was fishing west of Gaza city, in unclear circumstances. On another 30 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian boats sailing near the Israeli-imposed 6 nautical mile fishing limit, including one incident resulting in the injury to two fishermen and in damage to their boat, and another in the detention of six fishermen.
Two Palestinians were injured by explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Gaza, including a farmer northwest of Rafah city and a man in his house in Nuseirat Refugee Camp. Since the ceasefire of August 2014, 11 Palestinians, including a child, were killed in ERW incidents, and another 42, including 16 children, were injured.
The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing in both directions for one day (9 March), allowing 361 Palestinians, mainly patients and students, to leave and 956 people to cross into Gaza. The crossing has been continuously closed since 24 October 2014, following an attack in Sinai, except for 12 days on which it was opened, but with restrictions.
US$ 175 million has been pledged in support of UNRWA’s emergency shelter programme, for which a total of US$ 720 million is required. This leaves a current shortfall of US$ 545 million. UNRWA urgently requires US$ 100 million in the first quarter of 2015 to allow refugee families with minor damage to repair their homes and to provide ongoing rental subsidies.
As presented in UNRWA’s oPt Emergency Appeal, for its 2015 emergency operations in Gaza, the Agency is seeking USD 366.6 million, including USD 127 million for emergency shelter, repair and collective centre management, USD 105.6 million for emergency food assistance, and USD 68.6 million for emergency cash-for-work. More information:
The Israeli blockade of Gaza entered its 8th year in June 2014 and continues to have a devastating effect as access to markets and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain severely restricted. The economy and its capacity to create jobs has been devastated, with the majority of the population becoming dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid has increased from fewer than 80,000 in 2000 to almost 868,000 today.
Gaza: Facts and Figures
1.26 million refugees out of 1.76 million total population
8 refugee camps
Almost 12,500 staff
252 schools for almost 240,000 students
21 health centres
16 relief and social services offices
12 food distribution centres for almost 868,000 refugees
Living under a tightened land and sea blockade since 2007
Shattered local economy
Long standing restrictions on movement of people and goods has led to a de-development of Gaza
Potentially unliveable place by 2020.
See also: 02/15/15 AP Investigation: 89% of ‘Protective Edge’ Victims Were Civilians